Ahhhhh. There’s nothing feeling like you’ve finally arrived in a new city than running a road race there. Make that three. I’ve completed the Athleta Iron Girl 10K last year, along with the Sporty Divas half marathon in Tacoma, but the Rock n Roll races always hold a fond place in my heart.
This race was different. My strategy was completely different. My timing was also a bit strange too.
A week and one day prior to the race, I was sedated in a surgeon’s office getting my bottom jaw cut into. Gory description, I know. I spent the following week in lots of pain, hopped up on meds, and trying to work through the haze of said medications to still meet work deadlines. Sounds like a recipe for disaster but I mostly just worked through everything really slowly. Since I was off my feet for a good two weeks total — one week prior to the surgery, and the week after the surgery — I was really in no condition to run a half marathon.
As a test, I went on a post-op walk. I gave myself a goal of 5K. If I could complete a 5K walk around the neighborhood and still feel fine-ish, then I would go ahead and give the race an honest go. I felt fine so I kept to my promise and made it to the start line. I sacrificed my last tri for this race (in scheduling my surgery, I was opting for one race or the other), so I was going to make this one count.
The race was obviously very scenic, but since it was the first time I walked such a long distance, it really got me thinking. Beforehand, I was a bit concerned that I wouldn’t be able to finish it. 13.1 miles walking is a long way to go. If I couldn’t finish I’d have to take one of the emergency sweeper buses to the finish. I was a bit scared that I’d finish dead last among the half marathoners. It felt out of reach. For the first time in a long time, a race felt so very out of reach. I took it slowly, stopped when I needed to, ate more than I thought I would, drank and hydrated at almost every aid station, and made it out just fine.
I was surprised to do so well after post-op and it made me realize that Ironman Louisville is definitely within reach.
Yes, I will be painfully slow and cutting it close to the cut-offs. Yes, it will be difficult. But, if I just keep plugging away at my training and show up on race day knowing I did my best, well, then I will just try to complete the race to the best of my ability. And if things don’t work out, there will always be another race. There will always be coaches who will help me re-tool my training. I will live another day to blow off another couple hundred dollars on a different triathlon where I will eventually do my best and finish.
A lot of the hurdles I face are mental, and I think walking through this race and feeling those types of mental obstacles peel away mile after mile helped put this all into perspective for me.
Relentless forward progress!